(USNewsMag.com) – Phillip Washington, President Biden’s choice to head the FAA, dropped his consideration on March 25 due to lackluster support in the Senate.
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, who had supported Washington’s candidacy up to this point, has now verified that Washington has dropped out. He stated that the FAA requires an approved administrator. He believed that Washington was a great candidate due to his background in the military and transportation. Respecting his choice to step down and appreciative of Washington’s service. He acknowledges that the political assaults and procedural impediments he had suffered were unwarranted.
Democrats still have a slim majority in the Senate, but several centrist senators have expressed doubts about Biden’s choice. Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat-aligned independent senator from Arizona, was delaying the confirmation process and might have voted in opposition to Washington’s appointment. Democrat Montana Senator Jon Tester has likewise been reluctant to openly back the nomination of Washington.
When the previous Congress did not act on Biden’s nomination of Washington, who was the CEO of Denver International Airport, to fill the empty seat in July 2022, Biden renominated him in January 2023. During the confirmation hearing held on March 1, Republican senators questioned him about his lack of aviation expertise prior to his appointment in Denver in 2021.
Also, Washington is being investigated for corruption related to his time spent as CEO of LA Metro, the agency in charge of the city’s public transportation system.
Republican Ted Cruz of Texas stated he is really not knowledgeable for this role. He was also very worried about the unresolved claims of wrongdoing against Washington that dated back to his tenure with LA Metro. He was the target of many whistleblower reports and was mentioned in various search warrants related to an active criminal investigation into corruption claims.
As of March 2022, the FAA does not have a permanent head of administration. During that time, several incidents involving aircraft have occurred at US airports, most notably the massive cancellations of numerous Southwest Airlines routes during the Christmas 2022 holiday season.
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